Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A week is a long time in publishing #2

Updating last month’s post A week is a long time in publishing which mentioned possible changes at Pearson NZ and definite changes at HarperCollins NZ, we have announcements today. First, Stuff on HarperCollins:
Publishing company HarperCollins has announced the closure of its New Zealand distribution network.
The company could not say how many jobs would be lost in the move as some of the people affected would be offered new positions.
HarperCollins chief executive James Kellow said supply would switch to the company’s warehouse in Australia.
Support services would also be run from Australia.
He said the company “remained committed to publishing New Zealand books for New Zealand readers and looked forward to maintaining a local publishing programme in the future”.
“We will now start the search for new premises for HarperCollins NZ on Auckland’s North Shore for our ongoing publishing, sales and marketing communications team.”
He signalled the departure of general manager Graham Mitchell, however, saying he had “kindly agreed to stay on until the transition of the business has been successfully completed”.
Communications director Simon Milne said he did not even have a “ball park figure” of how many people were affected.
He said the decision was related to “economies of scale” and all publishing houses apart from Random House had now moved their warehousing back to Australia.
Next, from Booksellers NZ:
Following the announcement on May 28, Pearson today confirmed that its education business in New Zealand will close at the end of August 2013. Pearson will continue to offer its products in New Zealand and customers and authors will be informed of the alternative arrangements soon.
Pearson Australia & New Zealand CEO, David Barnett, said, “We will continue to support our customers in New Zealand via a local distributor, who will sell our products in the marketplace. However, over the last few years it has become clear that our current business model is no longer appropriate."
“This was not an easy decision to make and comes after many months of discussion as well as a two week consultation process with our people. Our focus right now continues to be on their welfare at this difficult time.”
This announcement relates to Pearson Education and does not affect Penguin.
Bugger, frankly. Everyone in the book trade will know people affected by this. 

The one bright spot is that Pearson is withdrawing from New Zealand for reasons to do with head office refocusing on other markets, not because of poor performance in this market. My impression is that Pearson NZ has been stellar. The market is still here – we still need school textbooks, obviously – and Pearson’s staff and authors are all good to exceptional. So the business is viable, just not under the present distracted owner.

Which means this is an opportunity for someone entrepreneurial to snap up the business as a going concern – or, if not all of it, the bits of it they can manage.

But still, oy vey. And who’s next in this international reshuffle?

So here is Jackson Browne in 1977-ish performing “Stay (just a little bit longer)”, with Rosemary Butler on vocals and David Lindley on lap-steel guitar, falsetto and hand-gestures:


Anonymous said...

How can HC 'publishing business' be ongoing if they have made the entire publishing and editorial team redundant? Just asking.

Stephen Stratford said...

I don't know. Presumably someone somewhere will still be making publishing decisions. I am meeting a "high-placed source" tomorrow so hope to learn more.

Anonymous said...

Good luck with that...